Regardless of his battle for control of Dell shakes out, its chief executive intends to stay with the computer maker he founded.
Michael Dell, who is trying to take his namesake company private, told The Wall Street Journal he will stay with Dell even if his deal doesn't win shareholder approval. However, he said he has no intention of supporting an asset sale or leveraged recapitalization as proposed by activist investor Carl Icahn, who opposes Dell's privatization effort.
"I will not support the kind of recapitalization and sale of assets some shareholders are suggesting," Dell wrote in an e-mail interview with the newspaper. "Given where we are today, I believe the challenges we would face as a public company, including a potential proxy fight, would be significant. But I am ready to fight and I am committed to doing what I believe is right for the company."
Michael Dell, along with his partner, investment firm Silver Lake, announced last week that they would increase their offer to take the computer maker private, paying $13.75 per share, 10 cents a share more than their previous offer of $13.65 per share. However, Michael Dell wants approval of the deal to hinge on a simple majority, arguing that the board's allowance of a provision that shares that are not voted count as votes against the merger is "unfair."
Opposing Michael Dell in his buyout bid is Icahn, who owns 8.7 percent of Dell stock. Icahn argues that the privatization plan undervalues the company and proposed last month that Dell buy back 1.1 billion shares at $14 per share. After earlier skepticism about Icahn's proposals, the mood changed after the billionaire announced he had secured $5.2 billion in loans from several banks and institutional investors to finance his Dell buyout proposal.
Shareholders were supposed to vote earlier this month on whether to approve Michael Dell's offer, but that vote was postponed, and speculation surrounding it suggested that Michael Dell and his supporters weren't quite sure they had enough votes to gain approval.